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  • Culture Beaker

    Why enforced ‘service with a smile’ should be banned

    When you stumble into Starbucks for your morning coffee and are greeted by a super cheery barista inquiring about your day and your life in general, do you ever want to smack that smile off her face?

    Well, pity the barista. In recent years the “service with a smile”...

    09/02/2015 - 15:00 Science & Society, Psychology
  • News

    Ancient pottery maps route to South Pacific

    Ceramic shards unearthed in highland New Guinea more than 40 years ago have now been pegged as the oldest known pottery on the island, by a lot. That discovery offers a first glimpse of encounters between island residents and seafarers that influenced the rise of modern South Pacific societies.

    Eleven of 20 pottery pieces excavated in 1972 and 1973 at Wañelek, a site in New Guinea’s...

    09/02/2015 - 14:00 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • Science Visualized

    How dollhouse crime scenes schooled 1940s cops

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    In November 1896, Lizzie Miller stumbled upon a shocking sight: The discolored body of her neighbor Maggie Wilson half-submerged in a bathtub, legs precariously dangling over the side. How did she die and who killed her?

    Wilson’s murder is fiction, though inspired by the work of...

    08/30/2015 - 10:53 History of Science, Science & Society
  • News

    Psychology results evaporate upon further review

    Psychologists have recently bemoaned a trend for provocative and sometimes highly publicized findings that vanish in repeat experiments. A large, collaborative project has now put an unsettling, and contested, number on the extent of that problem.

    Only 35 of 97 reports of statistically significant results published in three major psychology journals in 2008...

    08/27/2015 - 14:00 Psychology, Science & Society
  • Letters to the Editor

    Moon bounces, bad spider leaders and more reader feedback

    Untangling the faith debate

    In “A biologist takes aim at religion” (SN: 7/11/15, p. 27), Bruce Bower reviewed...

    08/26/2015 - 15:35 Human Evolution, Animals, Physics
  • News

    Chilean desert cemetery tells tale of ancient trade specialists

    An ancient cemetery in northern Chile’s Atacama Desert is helping to rewrite the region’s past. This burial ground housed the remains of a far-flung, well-connected group of players in what was one of South America’s earliest trade networks, researchers say.

    New findings from the roughly 1,500-year-old Larache cemetery support the idea that trade bloomed among societies in the Andes...

    08/24/2015 - 07:00 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • Culture Beaker

    A bot, not a Kardashian, probably wrote that e-cig tweet

    This just in: Companies use social media to encourage you to buy their products.

    A recent and much-discussed example of such marketing involved pregnant reality television star Kim Kardashian, who was paid to publicly praise the morning sickness drug Diclegis. FDA regulations...

    08/21/2015 - 16:30 Science & Society, Computing, Health
  • How Bizarre

    Whistled language uses both sides of the brain

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    Amid the mountains of northeast Turkey, people whistle messages that ring across valleys like ornate bird songs. Unlike with hearing spoken languages, listeners who understand this rare form of communication rely on both sides of their brains, a new study suggests.

    For most people, the left side of the brain does the heavy lifting in...

    08/21/2015 - 11:45 Neuroscience, Language
  • Science Stats

    Contentious science topics on Wikipedia subject to editing mischief

    Acid rain is a popular term referring to the deposition of wet poo and cats.

    No, not really. But that's what people looking at Wikipedia's article on acid rain could have read on December 1, 2011. 

    An anonymous editor had tinkered with the text. Over the next few minutes, the silly sentence winked in and out of the article as editors wrangled over the wording.

    The incident is...

    08/19/2015 - 15:54 Science & Society, Psychology, Computing
  • The –est

    Oldest humanlike hand bone discovered

    Excavations at Tanzania’s famed Olduvai Gorge have uncovered the oldest known fossil hand bone resembling those of people today. The bone from a hominid’s left pinkie finger dates to at least 1.84 million years ago and looks more like corresponding bones of modern humans than like finger fossils of previously discovered Olduvai hominids, say paleoanthropologist Manuel Domínguez-Rodrigo of...

    08/18/2015 - 11:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution